I have been reading the book of Acts lately, and over the next few days, I’d love to share what I’ve been learning. I always hesitate to share what I’m thinking about Scripture, because by no means am I a theological or biblical scholar. But, I’m reading the Word prayerfully and hoping God with fill my words with grace.
When I think back on the teachers who had the greatest influence in my life, it seems that they all called something out in me. In third grade, I called someone a “cry baby,” and Mrs. Taylor told me it was un acceptable because I was a kind person. I did not feel kind at the time, nor was I acting like it, but she didn’t give me that option. She simply told me that kindness was part of who I am, and so I tried to act like it moving forward. (Side note: How ironic is it that I called someone a cry baby, when I am and have always been a person who cries about everything?)
This morning I was reading Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas are continuing their ministry by traveling around Greece and Asia Minor, and they found themselves in Lystra (in modern-day Turkey).
“In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way since birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed, and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ After that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” (Acts 14:8-10, NIV)
Two things stood out to me here.
1. Paul saw the man’s faith.
Throughout Acts, the author gives a lot of credit to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned by name over and over, whenever He intercedes to lend the early church power, wisdom, or words to speak. Therefore, I’m tempted to think that this wasn’t necessarily a matter of the Hold Spirit speaking to Paul (though it may have been that too). I think Paul actually saw something that caught his attention, and I wonder what, exactly, that was. Did he notice how intently the man listened, or was the man’s countenance spilling over with joy and peace? Did he watch the way the man communicated with the people around him? I’m not sure, but I know this: I want people to see my faith. How can I live and interact in such a way that my faith–this intangible thing–is actually visible?
2. Paul called out to him.
Paul was not satisfied to simply see the man’s faith, but had to point it out to him. He called out the man and told him what his faith meant. And didn’t Jesus do this? He called Peter “the rock” when the disciple felt fickle, and He called Zacchaeus “friend” when he tax collector. He called me redeemed and accepted and free, even when I have felt broken and insecure and stuck. Paul, likewise, chose this moment to call out someone’s full potential. I, too, want to be able to look at people and recognize the value God has placed in them, and I want toe call it out. I want to be brave enough to say, “I see you, and I’m grateful for you, and here’s what I think about who you are.”
Let’s be people whose faith is visible, and let’s encourage those around us to live out the faith, joy, and kindness that is part of how God designed them.